PRACTICE LIKE YOU MEAN IT!!!
By Montana Grant

Posted: August 18, 2022

Archers and gun hunters need practice. Accuracy for your shooting skills require constant tuning. Your goal is perfect muscle memory and consistency, but the skills are perishable.

Practice shooting like you mean it, means to pretend that you are afield. Wear the gr=ear you will be using when shooting a critter for real. This means binos, hat, vest, pack, etc. All this gear can get in the way. 

I once guided a bow hunter for elk. We were working several bulls and finally got in close. A big 6×6 was slowly walking down the edge and would pass at 20 yards, broadside. The shot would be clear and wide open. The archer was a crack practice field shot. He attached his release, drew his bow, and sighted in for the shot. I stopped the bull with a cow call and the bull looked right at us. He fired!

The arrow was laying in the dirt at our feet! He forgot that his binoculars, a large 10×42 Bushnell’s were hanging on his chest. The bow string caught the binos and ruined the shot. Needless to say, that bull ran into the next county.

Practice your shooting in areas that look like where you hunt. Gun and archery ranges are often groomed for looks and safety, not natural vistas. If you hunt elk and deer in forests, then practice shooting between trees. Sit on logs, lean next to a tree, shoot from behind or in front of cover. Take a portable target to stage the conditions.

Gun hunters and archers need to shoot from tree stands or ground blinds. I once was in a tree stand when a big white-tailed buck approached. I was bow ready and drew for the kill shot. I failed to see that the double trunked and branched tree prevented me form going to full draw. Now I always take a practice shot, using an old arrow, to mark and test my best shot. I also add some scent to the arrow to get the critters attention. If you are a gun hunter that shoots from elevated areas and stands, practice these live fires prior to the season. Shooting down or uphill changes the impact point.

Eyesight is the biggest loss. As we age, our experience and skills improve but our eyesight does not. Often, we end up with glasses and less than perfect vision. Shooting with changing vision means you need to adapt and compensate. It is common for a dominant eye to change. Now you may have to get improved eyewear or learn to shoot opposite hand. You do want to learn this when it is time to fill your tag.

Visualize a critter when you shoot.

Our gear and clothing constrict and restrict our limbs, muscles, and movements. Find out if everything fits proper before you need to shoot. Find ways to secure calls and optics. Make sure straps and clips are not in the way. Use hooks, when in a stand, to hang unneeded gear out of the way.

Practice makes perfect!

Montana Grant